Monday, March 26, 2007

Ya me voy

To the left is Max's work of art, a cartoony version of a Mexican altar. He walked down Alberta Street trying to sell it during the Last Thursday Art Walk. He had takers, but I refused to let it go.

It looks like we're in fast-forward getting ready to move to Mexico. Over the past few months, I have found incredible resources for preparing to move the family to Oaxaca, and I thought I'd share some of them for anyone else trying the same thing:

Getting ready for the move:
Rolly Brook gives all the details on applying for visas, moving your junk, and bringing all the right documents. He also kindly responds to emails.

For working and daily life questions:
I haunt the Mexico boards at Dave's ESL Cafe. They meander on about all sorts of delights, such as where to score olive oil, how to flake out of a teaching contract, and where to find the best airline deals.

For grumpy but ultimately helpful advice:
The retirees at MexConnect have kicked my ass more than once but at least I can outrun some of them...The discussion boards are meticulously detailed and address issues as diverse as medical insurance, monthly bills, favorite books about Mexico, and nailing the best exchange rate. The secret to all these discussion boards is the behind-the-scenes information you glean after posting a public message. Everyone starts PM-ing you with inside pointers, especially if they pity how poorly you're being treated on the forum. I've had to take my old advice I used to give my students and "rise above" a number of times.

For rose-colored-glasses swooning:
Well, I always find fiction can communicate more of the feeling of a place than guidebooks can and one of the better Mexico expatriate novels I've read is Harriet Doerr's Consider This, Senora.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Bad Cop

Last Wednesday, a 2:10pm, I was driving north from Burnisde toward Lloyd Center when I saw a cop car blocking the left lane. As I passed on the right, I saw the cop pushing a young guy against the street. He had the guy in cuffs, he had backup, he had the guy face down, yet he continued to pull on the guy's elbow in a way that looked like he was dislocating it.

I was driving by, and I felt helpless. I unrolled my window and stopped for as long as I could, to bear witness. When the cop adjusted his grip, I could see the white fingerprint marks left behind on the guy's skin, and still he was pushing, pushing his damn elbow.

There's a million stories out there, I know, about who might have been wrong, who might have been right, but the story in my head had me wondering who I could call to intervene. Certainly not the cops. And I fantasized about a bad cop service, a person with a van that would rush to the scene and know all the right things to say and do, rather than just roll down the window and, later, blog about it.